For many, enjoying a cup a coffee is as much of a ritual as it is a habit…the warmth of the cup, the aroma of the brew, the savored sip. Sometimes, it is about the perfect meld of cream and coffee. Often, it is about gently easing into the day.
Late for the Train has now made it more convenient to enjoy its locally roasted, ground coffee. The owners are selling K-Cups, which they call Kaboose Cups. The K-Cups can be purchased by the single K-Cup, Hobo Bag of 16, Pantry Pack of 32 or in a 100-cup Cargo-size box for the office. Prices range from $1.25 for one cup to $75 for the Cargo box.
“We waited to offer K-Cups until we could do it right,” said Late for the Train owner and founder David Dobrick. “After watching and researching the industry for several years and attending several trade conventions, we finally found the right equipment to fill and seal the cups with our own mountain fresh coffee right here at our Flagstaff roastery. And the cups we use are recyclable.”
Dobrick had wavered over the years if or when to get into the K-Cup business. Although many of his customers had asked him to get his coffee into K-Cups, the lack of recyclability or compostability remained a nagging issue. Dobrick said the deciding factor came while visiting a local friend who has Multiple Sclerosis. Seeing that she made coffee from a Keurig machine, he asked her why she gave up using a pour-over brewer. The friend explained that it was just too difficult and sometimes impossible to make a pot or cup of coffee, given her physical limitations. So, she decided to start buying K-Cups, which were much easier to use.
“It was at that moment,” Dobrick recounted, “I thought, ‘Doggone it, everyone deserves to be able to have a good cup of their favorite locally roasted coffee.’ I decided to do whatever it took to ensure my friend and others who struggle physically and anyone else who have their own reasons, can have our coffee anytime they want it – at home, in the office or while traveling.”
LFTT’s new single-serving Kaboose Cups are packed with more coffee than other national brands, enough for a 12-ounce cup, not just a six- or eight- ounce cup.
Filling, labeling and packaging hundreds of individual cups with finely ground coffee presented new challenges to the operation. However, Dobrick learned of Quality Connections and its job training mission for individuals with disabilities.
Quality Connections, a Flagstaff-based company founded in 1999 by Melissa and Armando Bernasconi, helps individuals with disabilities become independent, productive members of the community. The non-profit organization sells office and cleaning supplies and works with local businesses to provide employment and job training opportunities for those with physical and developmental needs.
“Employment changes people’s lives,” said Quality Connections CEO Armando Bernasconi. “Partnering with Late for the Train has helped us put even more people to work. Our staff are proud to be a part of creating such a great product, and that pride helps them develop their independence and confidence to contribute to our community in other ways as well. The whole community benefits when people are empowered through their work.”
Currently, Quality Connections employees label the K-Cups once they are filled and sealed. They also hand sew the burlap Hobo Bags, which are made from the actual bags the raw coffee is shipped in from all around the world, which hold 16 K-Cups. Each Hobo Bag has individual markings from the coffee farm and exporter. The next step is to train Quality Connections staff to run the machine that fills and seals the cups.
“It is a perfect partnership,” Dobrick said. “We could have sent our coffee out of state to be packaged, but then we would have taken jobs out of our community and we would have lost the quality control we strive for as local, independent coffee roasters. We are honored to employ and train those who may have limited employment options but who are vital members of our town. Collaborating with Quality Connections means we can keep the processing and packaging of our products local, which expands the workforce and allows us to keep costs down. It is a win-win for everyone.” FBN
By Starla S. Collins, FBN
For more information on LFTT, visit LateForTheTrain.com or Facebook.com/LateForTheTrain.
For more information on Quality Connections, visit QualityConnections.org or Facebook.com/QualityConnectionsInc.
Elwin Carl and David Schaeffer, of Quality Connections, label and pack Late for the Train’s new Kaboose Cups.
Photo by Starla S. Collins